Saturday, April 28, 2012

Practicing Ecstasy

Sanchez said he was going, with Bobby if he wanted to come,
so they did go, the two of them, as in the old days they convened
in the music room startling the soundproof room with a loud sound
no one else ever played in such close quarters, even the janitor moaned,
the security guard dropped by; two lads, Bobby said, practicing ecstasy.

The only two in Mexico. Dave was in San Francisco by now, with Rose,
staying with Mona when Rose was working, singing in the dive downtown.
Tony filled in on piano, Laurie driving him there. Clark took over drums:
Ah, versatile flaneur! such infinite love of the beat, paradoxical affinity for
sacrificing melody to walk music through the risk of a night’s love, its danger.

Doug Harper and his beloved Myra Jacobs, what to say . . . Sanchez loved them:
they were his jazz ideal, a little like Lester Young and Billie Holiday (but no blues
you could distinguish: her fawning smile, his own rapture, music joining their lips,
like songs say but never show, not like theirs). Jim and Marge arrived when the lads
were off in Mexico; Jim happier than before: You don't grow up on the streets smiling.

In Mazatlan they went to Mama Muchi’s for smoked marlin. They shared a room
in the Lincoln Apartments. From there they saw the madam Matilda lead her bevy of girls
along the walk above the beach, and Bobby body surfed in the warm waves but not long
before he was catapulted into the sand and wore a bruise on his forehead. Mark of Cain,
Bobby said. A night at Matilda's, more Mama Muchi, one more sally with the waves

and sand, then riding Tres Estrellas de Oro to Mexico City. Viajando en bus!
Bobby met there the woman poet he had heard so much of, Manuela Roma . . .
He would always remind her of someone else until she learned him better . . .
They were a week in D. F., boarding in an ex-convent in San Angel
at first, then Manuela drove them downtown to Mina y Buenavista.

Across the street Sanchez stayed in the larger Hotel Londres,
its mezzanine what he liked to remember later as "a virtual plaza."
Bobby roomed in Hotel Ibero. The orange- and green-haired prostitutes
took their down time together, lolling a step above the desk clerk’s domain.
Bobby climbed the stairs with one of auburn hair, chiding himself, "I've never paid."

(19, 29 April 2012)

copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander

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